Israel elections: We're okay, but is our country? - opinion

I’ve forgotten what number election we are headed toward this time: Is it the 24th this year, or the 32nd?

A GROUP of groaning grannies would be an equally good idea: Greeting a grandson in Moshav Haniel. (photo credit: CHEN LEOPOLD/FLASH90)
A GROUP of groaning grannies would be an equally good idea: Greeting a grandson in Moshav Haniel.
(photo credit: CHEN LEOPOLD/FLASH90)
 There’s a kind of hush all over the world these days. All over the world you can hear the sound of friends pausing thoughtfully before answering to “How are you?” It’s just a little hush – a hushlet really – because we know we are, considering the alternatives, doing fine. We shouldn’t complain. It’s not so terrible. We aren’t hungry, we have Wi-Fi that works, and in Israel at least, we are not even suffering from the cold.
And yet.
As tomorrow creeps into tomorrow and tomorrow in this petty pace from day to day, we all seem suddenly heartily sick of being Pollyannas. Yes, we know we’re not on the streets. Yes, we’re not on opioids, or on our deathbeds. But enough of counting our blessings; we want to count the still embarking passengers on planes and wonder whether the lovely empty seat next to us will stay empty so we can stretch out and sleep all the way to New York. Or Hawaii. Or the Bahamas. We want to count the hours until our downtown show is scheduled to start, to see if we can squeeze in a swim before drinks, before dinner, after a visit to the hairdresser without our masks getting clogged up with color.
And we love our grandchildren more than words can wield the matter, but we want them back at gan.
But more than that: We want to veg out in front of the nightly news without needing to throw up or hurl our coffee at the screen. Really. Enough is enough. Enough of watching our Eternal and Supreme Leader leading us to yet another election, enough of hearing him “I, I, I, I, I” as he I-brought-peaces us, I-fought-coronas us, and I-am-the-only-salvations us.
Last week, on yet another loooong day at Camp Nanny, my five-year-old grandson was helping me in the kitchen. In Peppa Pig, he informed me as he whacked an egg into the flour, Peppa and her mummy made a Christmas pudding. We should do the same.
First of all, I told him, we don’t do Christmas puddings. And secondly, what was wrong with pancakes?
Well, he explained, (as egg yolk meandered over my newly cleaned surfaces), Christmas puddings can make dreams come true. Peppa wished for Santa to visit and... Poof! He dropped through the chimney. If we whip up the same sticky scrumptiousness, he reckoned, we can make our best dream happen.
“What would you wish for, darling?” I asked, getting ready for another multiple-shekel online Lego deal, or maybe handing over even more of my stock of chocolate to “my most sweetest boy.”
“I would wish Bibi habayta, pipi ve’lishon,” said the next generation. “Then we could all be happy again.”
I gave him a whole bar of Cadbury’s (and some Cote d’Or). It was the least I could do for someone who might get Bibi to go home, visit the loo, and mellow out in his bed so we can all sleep with easier hearts.
EVERYTHING IS difficult at this crazy point in time. In the States, a friend told me recently, a group called “Primal Scream” has sprung up, where young mothers can scream with each other instead of at their kids. A group of groaning grannies would be an equally good idea: a forum in which grandmas (and grandpas) could share stories of how tough it is to watch our kids cope (less or more) with so many challenges.
Everything is magnified at the moment. It’s harder to surmount minor sorrows when the whole world (except, perhaps, New Zealand) looks bleak. When we are teaching on Zoom, and chatting on Zoom, and dating on Zoom, and running book clubs on Zoom and watching Netflix as a diversion, our oxytocin lags and our serotonin struggles to keep us bouncing back and being grateful for what we have received. Minor setbacks – a knight in shining armor who turns out to be a toad – which can be laughed off during days spent dashing through traffic jams to bridge clubs and real meetings with coffee – is harder to shrug off when you’ve been sitting alone with your thoughts for the best part of a year.
At the end of the day, the very least we all deserve is to be comforted in the knowledge that a coping adult is in control, has a handle on things; is holding us together, is working for the greater good, not just to keep himself out of a jail cell; is making laws that serve us and keep us secure, not genuflecting to interest groups which have him by a part of the anatomy that is not mentionable in a family newspaper.
We want a government that ensures that each sector of the population plays the same part in keeping themselves and other sectors safe, each carries the same burden, does the same army duty, pays the same taxes, gets the same benefits and obeys the same laws – or is punished in the same way if they don’t. That is what I want, at any rate. Surely you do too.
And if you do, how are the polls still predicting such high numbers of votes for the man who is single-handedly ensuring that none of this happens? Who is still voting for him, and why?
I’ve forgotten what number election we are headed toward this time: Is it the 24th this year, or the 32nd? Maybe the Christmas pudding magic works equally well on Oznei Haman. This year as we pop the poppy seeds into our pastries let’s say a little prayer: that our next government looks different, feels different, and at last has a different leader.
Wouldn’t that be loverly?
Dr. Pamela Peled lectures at IDC and Beit Berl. 
[email protected] Join her for a weekly lecture on “Enjoying Literature.” See Facebook: Pamela Peled.